JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A Science Hill High School senior was honored for his hard work and perseverance during a special graduation ceremony at the district’s central office on Tuesday. Sam Arnold has been homebound since he started in the Johnson City School system at three years old, according to school officials.

Photo: WJHL

School leaders said he’s partially deaf and blind, and has some other special needs that have given him extra challenges throughout his school career. Yet, despite this, Sam is now a high school graduate.

“Well, I have to be honest, when we first started talking about this [the ceremony], I thought, why do we need to do this?” Sam’s dad, Buddy told News Channel 11. “But then as the time progressed and I saw the excitement with the teachers and the therapists, I kind of got the fever, too, for this turnout today with these people who have loved us, and we’ve loved for years, it’s just absolutely fantastic.”

Sam’s mom, Beth, said she never could have expected the number of people that showed up to the ceremony to congratulate him on his well-earned accomplishment.

“I had no idea there would be this kind of a turnout,” Beth told News Channel 11. “I said that might be like a dozen people, and that’s only because I come from a really big family. So, to see so many people here embracing this has just been overwhelming.”

“He’s definitely a fighter,” Beth said. “And it’s been a great example to me and a lot of other people that even on our bad days, there’s good that you can find, and he always has a lot of joy, and he seems to spread that around. So that’s a great blessing for us.”